Houses of Ahmedabad | Check out how a dedicated couple revived this 360-year-old Haveli in Khadia
Tom Parker

Houses of Ahmedabad | Check out how a dedicated couple revived this 360-year-old Haveli in Khadia

Reviving history: How this enchanting Haveli of Ahmedabad found new life.

This is the incredible story of a historic haveli in Ahmedabad, brought back to life with unwavering dedication of a couple. Meet Kinnari Panikar and her late husband, John, whose deep passion for art and immense appreciation for the grandeur of Gujarati architecture led them on an extraordinary adventure.

Their journey is a tale of transformation and revival, where a 360-year-old heirloom family haveli, once worn down by the ravages of time and the 2001 earthquake, was lovingly restored to its former glory and given the name "Pratima."

Breathing life into Ahmedabad's architectural heritage

Kinnari Panikar
Kinnari PanikarTom Parker

Kinnari, originally from Ahmedabad, and John, who had made their home in New York City, found themselves irresistibly drawn to the architectural treasures of Ahmedabad. The havelis, with their whispers of bygone eras, cast a spell on them, igniting a dream to have a home the city. Fate intervened when Kinnari learned that her maternal haveli was up for sale. So, the couple decided to conserve and revive this heritage home.

Their journey was no easy feat, with many advising against moving into the sometimes chaotic lanes of Old Ahmedabad. Undeterred, Kinnari and John set out to restore the aging structure while preserving its timeless architecture. They embarked on a meticulous revival process, keeping the haveli's historic integrity intact. Their vision breathed new life into Pratima.

Pratima's aesthetics evolved, with Victorian pastels replaced by colors that paid homage to Kutch. Unnecessary partitions were dismantled, and repurposed wood recreated traditional Gujarati furniture that once graced the haveli.

The restoration of Pratima haveli

Tom Parker

Their commitment to a rusticity extended to the floors, where 19th-century Italian tiles salvaged from demolished homes replaced worn linoleum. Some rooms received a traditional baked-mud finish, adding a delightful texture to the tiles. The bedroom became a masterpiece, adorned with a striking 19th-century trompe-l'oeil ceiling that transported visitors to a bygone era.

Pratima distinguishes itself from its neighbors with an enchanting garden curated with love by Kinnari. This verdant sanctuary showcases indigenous flora, including the mesmerizing madhumalti (Rangoon creeper) and vibrant bougainvillea, thriving in Ahmedabad's climate.

The haveli's rooms brim with a personal archive of folk art, glass paintings, and an array of brass and copper vessels. Statues of Garuda, symbolizing strength and divine protection, stand sentinel, evoking a sense of timeless spirituality. Doors and windows, meticulously sourced from Gujarat and its surroundings, share stories of their own.

In the heart of Old Ahmedabad, Pratima still continues to captivate all who cross its threshold—a living embodiment of beauty, art, and serenity, standing the test of time.

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